The web has undergone many transformations since the public began to use it seriously. Perhaps the biggest revolution has been the creation of open tools that make it easy for anyone to contribute.
Wikipedia is probably the best example of this. It’s an encyclopedia written by the people, for the people, which has created a surprisingly authoritative online text. Wikipedias like Wikipedia democratize knowledge and, thanks to the wisdom of the crowd, self-correct their content as people carefully research and resolve conflicts.
Now imagine the amazing power of community applied to something a little less serious? This is where the fan wiki finds its niche. Created by huge communities of passionate fans, these fan wikis are dedicated to some of the most popular (or obscure) cultural objects in the world.
The authors are extremely serious about documenting almost everything anyone would want to know about the fandom, and there are many things we can’t imagine anyone would want to know either.
Star Wars is one of the biggest fandoms in the world. It is hard to imagine that someone on the planet does not know at least the name “Star Wars”. However, the depths of Star Wars fandom go far beyond the mainstream movies that bring in billions for Disney.
There is a large universe of books, games, comics, and more. Wookieepedia is the most comprehensive documentation on Star Wars, with incredible detail. “Star Wars” is infamous for the fact that almost every object on the screen, robot, alien and human, has a detailed history.
That guy who lost his arm in the Mos Eisley Cantina? It turns out that he is a famous criminal surgeon who just happens to have a deep connection to the main storyline of Star Wars. Yes, it’s a retcon, but you’ll find both canon and non-canon factoids like these lovingly detailed on the Wookieepedia fan wiki.
Star Wars may be making a lot of money now, but Star Trek has just as much deep story and extra content that is neither a TV show nor a movie. It may not have that big of a collector’s market, but Star Trek fans just love studying the starship blueprints and Gene Roddenberry’s fictionalized story of the utopian Federation.
Memory Alpha is the largest and most comprehensive collection of Star Trek canon lore and information on the Internet. Note the word “canonical”, there is actually a separate site known as Memory Beta that is the custodian of non-canonical Star Trek information.
For anyone looking to brush up on their Trekkie credentials, Memory Alpha is a must-see fan wiki.
A “Trope” is a common plot element or concept that can be found in certain genres or in a medium as a whole. In many ways, tropes are the basic building blocks of stories, but sometimes the term has a negative connotation, meaning that something is derivative.
Understanding tropes is incredibly important for both the people who love to consume the stories and the people who create them, so any sci-fi fan needs to bookmark TV Tropes. It’s a wiki-style site where tropes are documented, defined, and added to specific examples from every imaginable medium.
Keep in mind that once you switch to TV Tropes, you might end up losing more hours than the X-Files abducted aliens.
Whatever music you’re a fan of, you’ll likely find lyrics among the two million titles documented on LyricWiki. Every genre and even some incredibly obscure titles. It’s also very useful if you’re a fan of heavy metal bands like Amon Amarth but really can’t tell what they’re singing.
It has interesting user blogs, additional features such as “Song of the Day” and a list of songs that are popular on iTunes. Artist pages contain only their discography and full tracklists. It’s a fan wiki with lyrics and nothing else, which is good.
However, on artist pages you will find direct links to their official sites, Wikipedia articles and any other social networks. So it’s still a great place to start discovering the music of a particular band or solo artist.
Unless you’ve lived on the moon, you’ve probably heard of World of Warcraft. The game is still popular today and it seems like it will never die. Even though developer Blizzard has tried to make it as easy as possible for new players to jump into battle, the truth is that WoW is insanely lore-heavy, and the learning curve is still pretty steep.
That’s why the community-driven fan wiki called WoWWiki is such an invaluable resource. Whether you just want to understand the game more without actually playing it or trying to become a new player. Even WoW veterans will find a lot of things they didn’t know about.
WoWWiki is absolutely massive. With over 300,000 pages and 100,000 articles, there’s no need to worry about asking other players for answers. If you want to interact with the community, WoWWiki has a forum and discussion section that make an already comprehensive resource even more.
There are many MMO contenders out there today, but they still don’t match the breadth or depth that WoW offers.
From people, for people
A wiki is a great example of how millions of people who don’t know each other can come together to create something amazing. The one thing these fans have in common is their passion, devoting millions of man-hours so that we can all have the most obscure fan-related information at our fingertips. We salute them and hope these wonderful fan wikis never die.